Jay-Z Joins Caesars, SL Green in Times Square Casino Bid
The plan to bring a casino to Times Square now has a famous face accompanying Caesars Entertainment and real estate developer SL Green, as rapper Jay-Z joined the group.
Specifically, his Roc Nation entertainment agency is partnering with Caesars and SL Green to bring a gaming venue to 1515 Broadway. The real estate investment trust (REIT) confirmed the partnership with Roc Nation at its annual investor day today.
We are thrilled to have Roc Nation and JAY-Z join our partnership to bring Caesars Palace to Times Square. They are one of the most pioneering entertainment groups in the world, with New York embedded in their DNA,” said Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment in a statement.
SL Green’s investor conference marks the first time since the now-controversial Times Square casino effort was revealed in October that the developer shared more details about the project. How Jay-Z’s involvement helps the effort remains to be seen. But he is synonymous with New York entertainment and oversees an expansive business empire.
In addition to being a multi-platinum recording artist and a former owner of a small stake in the Brooklyn Nets, he founded Roc Nation in 2008. The company started with Rihanna as an entertainment client. It moved to become a sports agency five years later, and its clients include LaMelo Ball, Robinson Cano, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Saquon Barkley, Dez Bryant, Leonard Fournette, Danny Green, Rudy Gay, Todd Gurley, Jaire Alexander and Ronnie Stanley, among others.
Jay-Z or Not, Times Square Casino Has Opposition
While Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, is beloved in New York, one thing he may not be able to able to do is quell opposition to the Times Square casino plan, of which there is plenty.
Before his involvement in the project, the Broadway League, which is the national trade association for the Broadway industry, said it opposes the plan. Last week, the group reiterated that view, noting casinos keep people inside wagering, meaning there will be limited benefit to other local businesses.
Last month, the Shubert Organization, the largest owner of theaters, also said it’s against a Times Square casino. But the group added it’s not opposed to a gaming venue in Manhattan.
There other Manhattan casino plans, including Wynn Resorts teaming with Related Cos. and billionaire developer Stefan Soloviev on a project that would bring a gaming venue to an area near the United Nations complex.
SL Green See Benefits in Times Square Casino Plan
Predictably, SL Green sees things differently. The real estate developer estimated a gaming venue in Times Square would boost visits to the already heavily trafficked area by more than 7 million annually, while creating more than 600,000 in new overnight stays at area hotels.
“Caesars Palace Times Square will not only provide billions in tax revenue to New York City and State, it will also accelerate New York’s economic recovery through strategic partnerships with area businesses utilizing its industry-leading loyalty program, Caesars Rewards, home to more than 65 million members,” according to the REIT. “Caesars Rewards members will be able to use credits at Broadway shows, local hotels, restaurants, retail stores, comedy clubs, entertainment venues, and more, driving more tourists and New Yorkers to area businesses and creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs in and around Times Square.”
Caesars Rewards is the largest gaming loyalty program. SL Green also forecast that a Times Square casino will drive more than 7 million in additional meals purchased at local restaurants, while boosting Broadway ticket sales by more than $65 million annually.
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